Last time I left you I was on my way to Australia. I’ve finally touched down and landed, I’m settling into Sydney and Aussie life (although we have managed to find Yorkshire tea on day 4 but shhh…) but I’ll get into that soon on another blog post. I’m not yet finished telling you about my trip to Holland and Germany!
The day before my last I explored more of Holland and got on the bus to Germany. Before I crossed the border, I went to a very special place which I think deserves it’s own blog post.
This day I would be travelling alone, my cousin took me to her workplace and on the way she pointed out the American Cemetery from WWII in Margraten – I looked over and saw the landscape of thousands of white crosses and went “HOLY *insert expletive here*!!!” at the vast amount of them. You see how many there are on TV and in photographs, but when you see it in real life – it’s very shocking and overwhelming. Hence my reaction.
I walked from my cousins workplace along the paths going past autumnal countryside with the rising sun.
I got a strange feeling when I arrived. As I approached the gates and took the long walk up the driveway I couldn’t help but brace myself for feelings that were undoubtedly going to come my way.
I read the information on the battle map and I was overwhelmed to see that there were 8,301 burials – 1,722 of which were missing in action. Too many people who didn’t make it home.
I walked around the white cathedral and was greeted by the many crosses and stars of David.
I’m not going to lie and say I was brave and didn’t shed a tear – that would be far from the truth. When I came up to this cross which reads “Here rests in honoured glory a comrade in arms known but to God” that did it for me. The thought that this person, along with so many others not only died in battle – but was unidentified broke my heart. When you see sights like this, it puts your problems into perspective and how insignificant they all seem. Strangely, going to the American Cemetery puts it all into place – that life is way too short to be fretting over things you can’t control, or to worry about things that haven’t even happened. At the end of the day, nothing is guaranteed – anything can happen, so embrace this weird but wonderful life and the people in it who love you.
You get a mixture of feelings when you visit the American Cemetery, you do feel melancholy but it is a very peaceful and beautiful place. The plus of going early was that I was one of the first visitors so you get a real sense of peace and appreciate the silence. As you can see it was a beautiful day too, a gentle breeze with the warm October sun.
I left the American Cemetery with mixed feelings. Admiration for these soldiers who liberated Holland, sadness that their lives were unfairly taken from them, and a bit overwhelmed that these events didn’t happen that long ago.
Stay tuned for the next and final part of this trip,